• Chuck Offenburger

Wow! Take a Bow, Donors!

Thanks to donors to the Shenandoah Iowa Education Foundation, graduating seniors in the Shenandoah High Class of 2020 have been awarded 34 scholarships valued at $46,500.

The scholarship winners were announced last week in an online version of the traditional awards assembly, since the corona virus pandemic made it impossible to hold the usual ceremonies.

Amy Miller and Star Ann Kloberdanz, two members of the foundation’s board of directors who helped administer the scholarships, reviewed the awards for the public Wednesday morning, June 3, in an interview with Don Hansen on KMA radio. Two graduates who won multiple scholarships, Claire Adkins and Ty Lantz, appeared on the air with Miller and Kloberdanz.

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“It’s really impressive to me that we’ve been able to give $46,500 in scholarships this year,” said Kloberdanz. “That reflects tremendous generosity by our donors.”

Three of the scholarships, valued at $5,000 each per year and renewable for four years of college work, are the new “Shenandoah Iowa Educational Foundation Agricultural-Horticultural Scholarships.”

They’ve been made possible by a $250,000 donation to the foundation made by a person who has asked not to be identified for now, but may agree to public disclosure later. That person has said the donation was made to assist and inspire students who want to pursue careers in one of the many different specialties available in agriculture or horticulture.

Those “ag-hort” scholarships, being awarded for the first time this spring, are going to Kyle Cerven, Ty Lantz and Payton Stephens.

Lantz, the son of Chris and Jana Lantz, said he intends to study agri-business at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Cerven, whose parents are Darin and Mary Kate Cervin, will be in agriculture & food studies at Morningside College in Sioux City. Stephens, the son of Lindsey and Jenny Stephens, said he plans to study horticulture at Des Moines Area Community College’s campus in Ankeny. He’s been working with his dad in the family’s Twin Oaks Lawn & Landscaping business from his early boyhood.

Lantz, speaking for all three ag-hort scholarship winners, said it “was a very generous gift by that donor, and I’m really appreciative of it.

“I feel like we get a good start in agriculture in the program that Sarah Martin teaches at Shenandoah High,” he continued. “This scholarship is really going to help me figure out what direction I want to go in agriculture for a career. Right now, I think that might be in finance in some ag-related business, but one thing we learn in our high school ag program is that there are all kinds of opportunities in agriculture.”

The second biggest scholarship, the Anne B. Gee Memorial Business Scholarship, is $2,000 and is being awarded for the third time. This year’s winner is Claire Adkins, the daughter of Dean and Chris Adkins. The scholarship is supported by a $20,000 donation made by the Gee family in honor of their mother, who taught business for 35 years at Shenandoah High before retiring in 1991. She died in 2017.

“I know I’m going to be studying business at Iowa State University, and right now, I think I want to major in finance, but we’ll see,” Claire Adkins said.

She said she first realized her interest in business when she had a summer internship after her sophomore year of high school at Century bank in Shenandoah. She said business teacher Liz Skillern’s classes “really inspired me,” and she also learned a lot participating in the Business Professionals of America organization for students, in which she took part in both state and national conventions.

Another new scholarship this year is the Joan Schebaum Memorial Scholarship, which is $250 per year, made possible by the donation of the Schebaum family in honor of their wife, mother and grandmother, Joan McLaren Schebaum. She was a 1973 graduate of Shenandoah High School who worked for years in the Shenandoah area, first in insurance and later in real estate. She passed away last summer after a long battle with cancer.

The Schebaum scholarship winner this year is Ty Lantz.

Also being awarded for the first time this year are the Shenandoah Iowa Education Foundation and Jay Memorial Trust Scholarships. This time there are 29 of them, valued at $1,000 each, and they are made possible by a new partnership between the education foundation and the Jay Trust, which for decades has made low interest college loans to local graduates.

Officials of the Jay Trust decided they were in a position to be able to increase their support of local high school students going on for further education, while continuing to offer their traditional loans, too. So they are making an annual donation to the education foundation to fund the new Jay Trust scholarships, which the foundation’s scholarships committee will administer.

“We really appreciate the opportunity to partner with the Jay Trust and thank them for their desire to partner with us in awarding these scholarships,” said Corby Fichter, president of the foundation. “These scholarships will continue to be used by any Shenandoah graduate pursuing additional education after high school.”

The 2020-’21 Jay Trust scholarships are being awarded to these 29 graduating seniors:

Claire Adkins, Kelsi Carlson, Kyle Cerven, Kaylee Crawley, Roxy Denton, Jamison Detrick, Alyssa Dukes, Ashton Dunkle, Natalie Gilbert, Nichole Gilbert, Lauren Haynie, Austin Herold, Baylee Johnson, Ty Lantz, Samuel Magwitz, Jessie Manrose, Nicholas Mather, Kaylee Mattes, Lydia Morales-Llan, Devin Morelock, Hannah Mulligan, Hailey O’Hara, Monica Ontiveros, Ireland Palmer, Kayla Shelton Torres, Blake Son, Payton Stephens, Anthony Stogdill and Ethan Voshell.

Board members of the foundation who assisted in processing scholarship applications and determining the recipients include Amy Miller, Star Ann Kloberdanz, Duane Rexroth, Steve Lorimor, Jeff Baker, Julie O'Hara and Nick Bosley.

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